Figs, like most other fruit trees, are grafted to produce better quality fruit, develop stronger roots, or develop a new cultivar altogether. Although grafting is a relatively harder means of plant propagation, figs react well to it with more chances of success. The upper part of the grafted plant is the scion and the lower part is the stock, also called the rootstock. The best time to graft fig trees is in early spring, when the plant is still dormant.
Cut a healthy, disease-free branch from a fig tree for the scion wood--the upper part of the graft that bears foliage and fruit--in winter. Make sure it is a year old and has three to four buds on it. Use a sharp knife to make a 1 1/2-inch-long sloping cut.
Cover the scion in moist peat moss and place in a zipper bag. Refrigerate the bag for up to three months, until spring, when you will graft it on the host plant. Mist the moss frequently during this time so it does not dry out.
Cut off a branch from the host fig tree with the same diameter as the scion, leaving a stub behind. This stub serves as the rootstock, bearing the roots for the grafted fig tree. Make a 1 1/2-inch-long sloping cut on the tip of the stub. Form a "tongue" on the stub by making a clean cut through the center of the previous one, 1/3 of the way below the tip, that penetrates the tissue underneath.
Take the scion out of the refrigerator. Form a "tongue" on its exposed surface like you did with the host, but make it with an upward-sloping cut so both pieces lock together firmly.
Lower the tongue of the scion into the tongue of the rootstock so they fit together for maximum cambium contact. This ensures the union or bond between both pieces is strong, which is essential for a successful graft.
Wrap the union with grafting tape. Wind it tight so the wounds heal and both parts join to grow as a single fig tree. Remove the tape when the scion begins to grow.
Things You Will Need
- Sharp knife
- Two compatible fig trees
- Moist peat moss
- Zipper bag
- Grafting tape
- Use a sharp, clean knife for grafting.
- Cambium layer is the nutrient-dense tissue underneath the bark. Maximum contact between cambium layers of both pieces is essential for a successful graft.
- Make straight cuts instead of jagged ones to ensure maximum cambium contact.
- Make sure the scion and rootstock are identical in size.
- Form the "tongue" carefully. Extending the cut can cause the piece to break into two.